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Do you find it difficult to read your cat’s body language? Perhaps your cat acts a certain way or does a particular thing and you have no idea why so would just like to understand them a little better.

Look no further, this animated infographic explains all!

If you want to learn more about your cat’s behaviour, have a read of our leaflet called Understanding your cat’s behaviouror read our behaviour blog posts. You can also find out about the domestic cat’s wild origins in our Understanding Feline Origins e-learning course.


Just what is your cat trying to tell you?

Rubbing against your legs or furniture

This is my home, and I scent things to find my way around.

Showing you its behind

Don't be offended, I'm just being friendly. We cats say hello to each other by sniffing tails, just like dogs.

Ears forward

I'm pleased to see you. If you hold out your hand, I might give it a bump to say hello (or a sniff if I'm shy).

Slow closing of eyes/blinking

You're getting a kiss. If you copy me, I might just do it again. If I'm in the mood.

Ears upright, sitting
up and alert

I'm listening intently. Was it a bird or a mouse? I'm not sure, but I'm off to find out.


I'm getting comfy. Kneading you makes me feel good. I used to knead my mum when I was a kitten.

Rolling on back to expose stomach

I trust you, but watch your fingers! I might want to play but I'll let you know if you've overstepped my personal boundary.

Back hunched up with tail and fur on end

I'm being defensive. I'm puffing my hair out to make myself look bigger, so whatever I'm scared of leaves me alone.

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat 'gift'

This isn't actually a gift! I bring back prey to my territory where it's safe and I won't be disturbed.


Many things make me purr (cuddles, when I want attention, and even pain). Mother cats and kittens purr silently, to say "all's well" with 'good vibrations'.

Thank you to Sainsbury's Bank who partnered with us to create this infographic.

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